10 of History’s Most Perverse Rulers

By Khalid Elhassan

Being kinky or sexually weird is one thing when the kinky weirdo is an average person. It is something else when the weirdo is a royal with the resources of the realm at his or her beck and call. Throughout history, royals with nearly unlimited power have indulged their sexual tastes – sometimes extremely perverse sexual tastes – in ways that run of the mill perverts could only dream of.

Following are ten royals who got up to some really weird sexual stuff.

Joanna the Mad Slept With Her Husband’s Corpse

Joanna of Castile, also known as Joanna the Mad (1479 – 1555) was the daughter of Spain’s “Catholic Monarchs”, Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castille. As her nickname indicates, Joanna was not all there. Her family had a history of mental illnesses, and Joanna’s marriage to a notorious lecher who cheated on her nonstop, but for whom she lusted nonstop, drove her crazy. Ghoulishly crazy, to the point where she slept with his corpse for years after his death.

In 1496, a dynastic marriage was arranged to solidify an anti-French alliance between the Spain of Ferdinand and Isabella, and Maximilian, the Holy Roman Emperor. Accordingly, princess Joanna was sent off to marry emperor Maximilian’s son, Philip the Handsome. It might have been an arranged marriage, but the couple hit off as soon as they laid eyes upon each other, and they compelled a bishop in Joanna’s retinue to bless their union so they could consummate the marriage immediately.

It was not just love, but also pure, unadulterated, unending erotic lust. Or at least it was unending erotic lust on Joanna’s part. While her passion for Philip never waned, and indeed grew to the point of obsession, her husband was obsessed with women in general, and not just with Joanna. Indeed, Philip was one of the most notorious lechers of his day, and because he was not nicknamed “the Handsome” for nothing, there was never a shortage of round heeled women eager to tumble into bed with him.

‘Dona Juana la Loca’, by Francisco Pradilla. El Poder de la Palabra

Before long, Philip was racking up a string of marital infidelities that drove his wife around the bend, sending her into recurring bouts of depression. Nonetheless, Philip’s infidelities only made Joanna become even more obsessed with her husband. The rocky royal marriage finally ended in 1506, when Philip died suddenly from typhoid fever.

That was when Joanna crossed the line from crazy about her husband, to just plain crazy. She became inconsolably grief stricken, until, unable to bear the separation from Philip any longer, she had his corpse disinterred three months after it was buried. Joanna then had the rotting body embalmed with lime and various unguents, and generously doused with perfumes. Then, according to a contemporary, the corpse was: “stitched back together, and all its members bound with waxed linen bandages“.

Over the following three years, Joanna would frequently crawl into the casket with Philip’s cadaver, or go to sleep with it in her bed. She also took it around with her wherever she went, exhibiting it to all and sundry to demonstrate just how “handsome” her husband had been. Eventually, Joanna’s bizarre behavior became too scandalous to tolerate, and she ended up forcibly confined to a convent.